Farm Happenings

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Blue and Oreo finally enjoying a sunny day

Spring on the farm is one of the busiest seasons.  It is the time for cleaning up the winter mess, prepping the gardens for planting, fixing up all of the animal pastures/enclosures that have weathered the winter snow and ice, starting all the seedlings in the greenhouse, spring hockey, jv soccer, varsity softball, work, meals, and trying to have a bit of fun inbetween.

Here are some of the things we have managed over the last week (not including meals which will come in a later post 🙂 :

If you have followed along with my Facebook Page…Chasenchanceranch, Disco foundered in January and has had a rough road over the last 2 months.  With aggressive treatments he is on the mend thankfully and even had his mane trimmed as he always has for riding and showing.  Even if he never makes it on the trails again, we are beyond grateful to have him comfortable and not in pain.

The baby chickens coop has been completely netted over the fencing and roof so there is never another hawk issue and they can be free and go in and out of their coop at will.  We have owned this property in my family since 1972 and have never had an animal lost to a hawk until this year.  It was a very hard life lesson for the kids to handle, but we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of all the animals!

The bunnies have a new run attached to their house so they can get some exercise and play during the day.  Meanwhile the “Chicken Brigade” travels the yard making sure to keep the bugs to a minimum!

Pops of color from the spring perennials are starting to liven up the grounds while some plantings are thriving in the portable greenhouse.  If you do not have primrose in your garden, I suggest you invest in some.  They are a very hardy spring plant and have beautiful green leaves during the summer when not in bloom.  They bloom in early fall as well and add great color.

Spring sports are underway.  The boy (in red) at his first jv soccer practice, the Teen Queen practicing catching and throwing for Varsity softball, and the boy playing in a jv hockey game.  Our nights are busy after work for sure!

The cabin is being set up for the summer to live in, the awning is up on the house for some outdoor dinners, morning coffee when not sleeping in the cabin, and rainy days when we play board games under it.

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This robins nest is in the eave of the cabin.  We have to leave it as it contains these cute little eggs and a hopeful robin mommy!

And with the nicer weather comes our weekend bonfires to end the nights.  This was the “big one” as we burned up all the branches from around the yard and a few pallets.

And that’s part of the week in review!  Tonight is the first Varsity softball game…Go Lady Eagles!!!

 

Snow

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Sissy stuck her head out and went right back into the coop after we had snow last night.

All winter we begged for snow!  My kids love snow, we are outdoor people regardless of the snow.  But we only had a few lucky days of it compared to last year when we were buried most of the winter (this was the last week of March 2015)

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Now we have switched to “spring” mode and sure enough here comes the snow!!

I actually planted bulbs yesterday from our hyacinth plants and the primrose are in full bloom as seen in the pictures below:

And this is the little garden today after a bit of the warm sun melting the snow.

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Tonight we are getting another 5-8 inches so somehow, someway…we need to switch our minds back into winter mode for a few days.

Easier said than done!!

Sunflowers turned to seed

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We have bird feeders we use throughout the winter and fill them with sunflower seeds for the birds.  This year we planted a sunflower garden to grow our own seeds.

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The first picture is the patch 2 weeks ago in full bloom.  The other 2 pictures are when we planted the garden in June and 3 weeks after the first planting.

We shared this patch with our pumpkins.

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As you can see this worked very well.  The pumpkin picture is just one row and we have 8 rows with pumpkins.

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The beautiful sunflowers are now turning to seed so tonight we took the time to cut all of the heads off to use to feed the birds throughout the winter.  Some of the heads are loaded with seeds while others have already been worked on by the birds.

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In the end we have 2 very large bags filled with flower heads and seeds.

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We will hang these from trees throughout the winter for the birds to pick at.  They will also be used as a treat for the chickens.

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You can see how they enjoy picking at it once it’s hung in their run!

Mother Nature

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If you look closely you will see this strange situation happening.  This sunflower is growing out of a crack in a dead tree by our garden.  It’s amazing how mother nature works!!

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We fill a few of our bird feeders with sunflower seeds so a bird must have had a nest in this tree at some point.  But how it started and found it’s way out of a crack into the sunlight is amazing to me.

Harvesting

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Fresh lettuce daily

It’s a special time of year when you are finally “eating” what you’ve sown.  A few of our garden items have been producing very well in this wet summer we are having.  Here is a peek into some of our harvested meals.

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We are growing head lettuce, romaine lettuce, and purple leaf lettuce.  Every day it’s great to have a choice of which fresh lettuce you are going to eat.  We grow most of this to feed the rabbits, goats and chickens as well as ourselves.

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Kale chips

With our lettuce we have our kale planted.  We have 5 huge plants full of thick heavy leaves perfect for kale chips, soups, and kale salads (the teen’s favorite).  She uses just the kale with apple cider vinegar and some taco shredded cheese.

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The pea plants are producing in one spot only.  Some of them have become molded from the rain.  We have a second planting of 18 plants almost ready to go into the ground.  We are still getting about 7 pea pods from each plant but we need WAY more for my kids!

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These were the only strawberries we collected this year from our plants. We lost quite a few plants to rabbits/voles this spring.  They have been replaced but won’t produce until next year.

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Beans and basil are doing well.  This is a store bought tomato as ours are not ready yet but with fresh basil, this caprese salad was awesome!  The beans did not make it past washing them.  The kids ate them immediately.  Luckily I have a previous harvest already blanched and frozen!

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One of the last 3 jars of peaches left from last summers canning.  Still a sweet treat.

Looking forward to the many more items to come!

Garden update

Things are starting to produce in our little garden.  Now is the time for some tender loving care to keep these plants healthy and productive!

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Hopefully nothing happens while I am Toronto bound with the boy for a hockey tournament this weekend.

You can see more of our garden pictures on my Facebook page here:  Garden update